Google loves change. It penalises websites that are static, remaining the same for long periods of time. There are millions of websites that still exist that are dormant – in many cases, they have not been touched in years. Google (and for that matter Bing and Yahoo) know that these sites provide little value to people searching for information. Therefore, these old, unused sites get relegated to the rarely viewed lower pages in the search results.
The search engines, therefore, tend to treat all static, unchanging websites as being unused, unwanted and lacking any real use or purpose. A problem with small business sites, in particular, is that often somebody creates them simply because “it seems like a good idea” or “all of my competitors have a website, so I suppose I better have one too”. In this case, some basic content is uploaded and then nothing happens. It simply sits there. Potential customers may visit the site once or twice, but they have no reason to return once they have read everything of value. The sites probably never appear anywhere useful in the search results, and the only people who go to these sites go there by typing in the URL directly because they saw the address on some form of offline marketing.
A blog is a great way for a website to have content that regularly changes. Every blog post written is another page on your site for the search engines to see and index. If you are particularly clever, you can even influence how the search engines see your blog post by using particular keyword terms in your headings and writing. This is all part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is the process of ensuring that the content on your website is written and presented in such a way that the search engines will look at it in a most favourable way.
If you have a series of regular blog posts, you are likely to attract a following of people who find your material interesting and informative. These people will eventually return to your site on a regular basis, looking for new posts. Assuming you target your blog post topics at your potential customers’ needs and interests, these regular blog readers are particularly likely to become future purchasers of your goods and services.
You can even better target these people by setting up a mailing list. You will need some form of feature box on your site, encouraging people to provide their email address. You might even choose to encourage this with some form of a lead magnet, i.e. some form of incentive for people to leave their email address. Your lead magnet does not have to be elaborate. What you offer would depend on your market, but it could be something like a small eBook or white paper. Once you have an email list, you would use a service like Mailchimp or Aweber to manage these email addresses. Then you can send out an email promoting any new blog post. These are the people who are most likely to choose to come to your site to read the new post, as by consenting to let you have their email address they already have an interest in you and what you offer.
You can further increase traffic to your site if you use social media to promote your blog posts. It is far easier to encourage people with a tweet or Facebook post to come and read an interesting article than it is to encourage them to come and look at your products.
One thing that can give your blog posts a better chance at converting readers into purchasers is to include a Call to Action in your posts. This is where you encourage your readers to take a particular course of action. For instance, I encourage you to take a look at what we can do to help you create an email newsletter to improve the traffic to your blog. With the above sentence, and link, I am encouraging you to take the action of going to that page to see what we offer – i.e. it is a Call to Action.
If you create a blog and publish regular informative content, you have the opportunity for people to see you as a content authority. You have the chance to answer your potential customers’ questions, and solve their possible doubts. Your site could well become the “go to” place for people interested in your niche.
Creating a blog may seem like hard work to many people, particularly if you struggle with writing yourself. However, it is seen as one of the best methods of creating traffic for your website, which in time you can convert into sales and then into dollars. Your blog users will be happy. You will be happy. Google and the other search providers will be happy. Just remember to share and promote your posts – people will not find your content if they do not know that it exists.